Cuprum is pre-eminently a convulsive medicine. The convulsive tendency associates itself with almost every complaint that Cuprum creates and cures.
It has convulsions in every degree of violence, from the mere twitching of little muscles and of single muscles to convulsions of all the muscles of the body.
When these are coming on the earliest threatenings are drawings in the fingers, clenching of the thumbs or twitching of the muscles. It has twitching, quivering, trembling, and it has also tonic contractions, so that the hands are closed violently. In this condition the thumbs are first affected; they are drawn into the palms and then the fingers close down over them with great violence. In the fingers and toes and in the extremities the spasmodic condition increases and extends until the limbs are in a state of great exhaustion. Tonic contractions, the limbs being drawn up with great violence and it seems as if the frame would be torn to pieces by the violent contractions of the muscles everywhere. Often the contractions assume a clonic form, with jerking and twitching.
Cuprum has many mental symptoms. It has a great variety in its delirium, incoherent prattling, talking of all sorts of subjects incoherently. It has produced a variety of mental symptoms: delirium, incoherency of speech, loss of memory. During its different complaints, such as cholera, some forms of fever, the puerperal state, dysmenorrhoea, congestion of the brain, etc., there is delirium, unconsciousness and jerking and twitching of the muscles. The eyes roll in various directions, but commonly upwards and outwards or upwards and inwards. There is bleeding from the nose and the vision is disturbed. Between the convulsive attacks there is incoherent talk, delirium, during which the patient is spiteful, violent, weeping or shrieking. They go into convulsions with a shriek. In one place it is spoken of as bellowing like a calf.
This drug has the ability to produce a group of spasms followed by the appearances as if the patient were dead, or in a state of ecstasy. Convulsive conditions sometimes terminate in a state of stasis during which the mind ceases to act and the muscles remain quiet or only quiver. This is often one of .the leading features in whooping-cough when Cuprum is indicated. To bring it down to the language of the mother, the description which she gives of the little one, which will probably make you remember it better than if I use the text, she says that when the child is seized with a spell of this violent whooping-cough, the face, becomes livid or blue, the finger nails become discolored, the eyes are turned up, the child coughs until it loses its breath, and then lies in a state of insensibility for a long time until she fears the child will never breathe again, but with violent spasmodic action in its breathing, the child from shortest breaths comes to itself again just as if brought back to life. You have here all the violent features of a convulsive whooping-cough. In addition to what the mother says you may also observe a few things, but the whole makeup of such a case, its whole nature, shows that it is a Cuprum whooping-cough. If the mother can get there quickly enough with a little cold water she will stop the cough. Cold water especially will relieve the spasm, and so the mother soon gets into the habit of hurrying for a glass of cold water, and the child also knows, if it has tried it once, that a glass of cold water will relieve it. Whenever the respiratory organs are affected there is spasmodic breathing, dyspnoea. There is also rattling in the chest. The more dyspnoea there is the more likely his thumbs will be clenched and the fingers cramped.
In the lower part of the chest, in the region of the xiphoid appendix, there is a spasmodic condition that is very troublesome. It seems to be at times a constriction so severe that he thinks he will die, and at others a feeling as if he were transfixed with a knife from the xiphoid appendix to the back. Some say it feels as if a lump were in that region and others as if much wind were collected in the stomach. It destroys the fullness of the voice, and it seems as if his life would be squeezed out. Sometimes then it takes the form of colic and sometimes of neuralgia. If you examine the sensation of tightness in the region of the stomach you will see at once how the voice is affected. You will find the patient sitting up in bed; he tells you in a cracked and squeaking voice that he will soon die if he is not relieved; his face is a picture of fear and anguish; he really looks as if he were going to die; the sensation is dreadful. Cuprum speedily cures this complaint. This constriction and dyspnoea occur sometimes in cholera morbus and in painful menstruation. Spasms of the chest are also accompanied by this constriction and a nervous spasmodic breathing. He is not able to take a full breath.
The Cuprum patient is full of cramps. There are cramps in the limbs and in the muscles of the chest, with, trembling and weakness. In old age, and in premature old age, it is useful for those cramps that come in the calves, the soles of the feet, and the toes and fingers at night in bed. In debilitated, nervous, tremulous old people, Cuprum serves a peculiar purpose. When an old man, who has been single a long time, marries, his cramps will sometimes prevent him performing the act of coition. He has cramps in the calves and soles as soon as he begins the act. It is especially suitable to young men who have become prematurely old from vices, from strong drink, from late nights and various abuses, and these cramps are not unlikely to occur in such subjects. Cuprum and Graphites are the two remedies for cramps coming under these circumstances, but whereas Cuprum is said to produce cramps that prevent the act, Graphites is said to bring on the cramps during the act. The two remedies however compete closely with each other, and hence if Graphites corresponds to the constitution of the patient, it should be given, and the same in regard to Cuprum. Sulphur also has cured this state.
In spasmodic conditions that come on during menstruation Cuprum is also useful. Painful menstruation with spasms commencing in the fingers and extending over the body. Tonic contractions that look like hysterical manifestations. They may be hysterical, but that does not interfere with Cuprum curing, if they are only spasmodic or convulsive. Violent dysmenorrhoea with delirium, turning up of the eyes, contortions of the face and epileptiform manifestations.
In epilepsy calling for Cuprum we have the contractions and jerkings of the fingers and toes. He falls with a shriek and during the attack passes urine and faeces. It is indicated in epilepsy that begins with a violent constriction in the lower part of the chest as I have described, or with the contractions in the fingers that spread all over the body, to all the muscles.
Again, it is a remedy sometimes needed in the puerperal state before or after delivery. The case may be of uraemic character, but no matter; the urine is scanty and albuminous. During the progress of the labor the patient suddenly becomes blind. All light seems to her to disappear from the room, the labor pains cease, and convulsions come on, commencing in the fingers and toes. When you meet these cases do not forget Cuprum. You will look a long time before you can cure a case of this kind without Cuprum.
In cholera morbus with gushing, watery stools and copious vomiting, the stomach and bowels are emptied of their contents. The patient is fairly emptied out, becomes blue all over, the extremities are cold, there is jerking of the muscles, cramping of the extremities and of the fingers and toes, spasms of the chest; he is cold, mottled, blue in blotches, going into collapse; the finger nails and toe nails and the hands and feet are blue. There are several remedies that look like Cuprum in such a condition. In cholera we would naturally hunt for such remedies as produce cholera-like discharges, more or less spasmodic conditions, the great blueness, coldness, sinking and collapse. We would here refer to Hahnemann’s observation. Hahnemann had not seen a case of cholera, but he perceived that the disease produced appearances resembling the symptoms of Cuprum, Camphor and Veratrum. He saw from the description of the disease that the general aspect of cholera was like the general aspect of Cuprum, Camphor and Veratrum, and these three remedies are the typical cholera remedies. They all have the general features of cholera, its nature and general aspect. They all have the exhaustive vomiting and diarrhoea, the coldness, the tendency to collapse, the sinking from the emptying out of the fluids of the body.
From what I have said you will see that the Cuprum case is, above all others, the spasmodic case. It has the most intense spasms, and the spasms being the leading feature, they overshadow all the other symptoms of the case. He is full of cramps and is compelled to cry out with the pain from the contractions of the muscles. Camphor is the coldest of all the three remedies; the Camphor patient is cold as death. Camphor has the blueness, the exhaustive discharge, though less than Cuprum and Veratrum; but whereas in the two latter remedies the patient is willing to be covered up, in Camphor he wants the windows open and wants to be cool. Though he is cold he wants to be uncovered and to have the windows open. But just here let me mention another feature in Camphor. It has also some convulsions which are painful, and when the pain is on he wants to be covered up and wants the windows shut. If there are cramps in the bowels with the pain, he wants to be covered up. So that in Camphor, during all of its complaints in febrile conditions (and fever is very rare in Camphor), and during the pains he wants to be covered up and warm, but during the coldness he wants to be uncovered and have the air. In cholera, then, the extreme coldness and blueness point to Camphor. Again, with Camphor there are often scanty as well as copious discharges, so that the cholera patient is often taken so suddenly that he has the coldness, blueness and exhaustion and almost no vomiting or diarrhoea, a condition called dry cholera. It simply means an uncommonly small amount of vomiting and diarrhoea. This is Camphor.
Another prominent feature is the great coldness of the body without the usual sweat that belongs to the disease. Cuprum and Veratrum have the cold clammy sweat, and Camphor also has sweat, but more commonly the patient needing Camphor is very cold, blue and dry and wants to be uncovered. That is striking. Now we go to Veratrum and see that we can have three remedies very much alike, and so perfectly adapted to cholera and yet so different. Veratrum is peculiar because of its copious exhaustive discharges, copious sweat, copious discharges from the bowels, copious vomiting, and great coldness of the sweat. There is some cramping and he wants to be warm; he is ameliorated by hot drinks, and by the application of hot bottles which relieve the pain and suffering.
These three, remedies tend downward into collapse and death. Now to repeat: Cuprum for the cases of a convulsive character, Camphor in cases characterized by extreme coldness and more or less dryness, and Veratrum when the copious sweat, vomiting and purging are the features. That is little to remember, but with that you can enter an epidemic of cholera with confidence.
In cholera-like states there are other remedies which relate to Cuprum and which ought to be considered. Podophyllum has cramps, mainly in the bowels. It has a painless, gushing diarrhoea with vomiting as well, and hence is useful in cholera morbus.
The cramps in Podophyllum are violent, they feel to him as if the intestines were being tied in knots. The watery stool is yellow, and, if examined a little while after, it looks as if corn meal had been stirred into it. The odor is dreadful, smelling only like a Podophyllum stool. If you say it smells like stinking meat that only partly describes it; it is not quite cadaveric but it is horribly offensive and penetrating. The stool is gushing, copious, and is accompanied by dreadful exhaustion. “It is a wonder where it can all come from,” says the mother, speaking of the exhausting diarrhoea in an infant or in a child. The stool runs away gushingly, in prolonged squirts, with a sensation of emptiness, sinking, deathly goneness in the whole abdomen. Phosphorus also ought to be thought of in relation to Cuprum. It also has cramps in the bowels, exhaustive diarrhoea, sinking as if dying, but commonly with heat of the skin, with burning internally, with gurgling of all the fluids taken into the stomach; as soon as they come to the stomach they commence to gurgle, and gurgle all the way through the bowel. A drink of water seems to flow through the bowel with a gurgle. Now this gurgling in Cuprum commences at the throat; he swallows with a gurgle; gurgling in the oesophagus when swallowing.
Convulsive cramps all over the body with twitching, jerking, trembling and blueness of the skin. Everything he does, all his actions are spasmodic, are convulsive. All the sphincters are convulsive. All the activities are irregular, disorderly and convulsive when poisoned with copper. Bear these things in mind- as we study every region in Cuprum. Repression or driving in of eruptions, attended with diarrhoea and convulsions, sometimes only convulsions. We note a case of measles or scarlet fever with a rash that has been suppressed by a chill -or exposure to wind and convulsions have come on. That belongs to Zincum and Cuprum, sometimes to Bryonia, but to Zincum and Cuprum particularly. Twitching of the limbs from a sudden suppression of a scarlet fever, with suppression of urine, chorea, etc. Cramping of the muscles of the chest; cramping of the calves; cramping all over. Suppressed eruptions. Discharges that have been in existence quite a long time. The individual has become debilitated and worn out with excitement, but this discharge barely kept him alive. He has gradually grown weaker, but he has kept about because he had a discharge. It has furnished him a safety-valve. If stopped suddenly convulsions will come on. That is like Cuprum. A woman has suffered a long time with a copious leucorrhoea and some unwise doctor tells her she must take injections and she checks it up for a few days, hysterical convulsions, crampings and tearings of the muscles come on; contractions of the fingers and toes. Discharges from old ulcers, fistulae suppressed.
Cuprum will re-establish a discharge that has been suddenly suppressed and convulsions followed. It stops the convulsions and reestablishes the discharge. It has caries, it has senile gangrene, or the gangrene that belongs to old age; old shriveled up octogenarians, whose toes and fingers get dark in spots; feeble circulation.
In the Cuprum patient the nerves are all the time wrought up to the highest tension; wants to fly, wants to do something dreadful. Impulsiveness. Compelled to do something; restless and tossing about a constant uneasiness; nervous trembling; always tired. Great weakness of the muscles, and relaxation of the body when the convulsions are not on. Twitching and jerking and starting during sleep. Grinding of the teeth with brain affections. Inflammations cease suddenly and you wonder what has happened. All at once comes on insanity, delirium, convulsions, blindness; evidence of cerebral congestion and inflammation appearing with wonderful suddenness. Metastasis. A perfect change from one part of the body to another. That same thing may occur from a suppressed eruption, or suppressed discharge, or a suppressed diarrhoea, and it goes to the brain, affects the mind and brings on insanity; a wild, active, maniacal delirium. Cuprum is not passive in its business. Violence is manifested everywhere. Violence in its diarrhoea, violence in its vomiting, violence in its spasmodic action; strange and violent things in its mania and delirium. Hysterical cramps and hysterical attitudes may change in a night or in a day to St. Vitus’ dance, and go on with it as if nothing had happened. Such is the suddenness with which it changes its character. This is not generally known of Cuprum this constant changing about. Spasmodic affections in general. Spasmodic cough, spasms all over the body. The face becomes purple. He loses his breath; suffocates. The mother thinks the child will never come to life again. Spasms of the chest; spasms of the larynx; spasms of the whole respiratory system of such a character that the child seems to be choking to death.
Whooping cough. With every spell of whooping cough comes this awful spasmodic state, this spasmodic coughing. Jerking of the muscles. Cuprum has spasms of the limbs with all sorts of contractions such as are found in hysterical constitutions. Puerperal convulsions. Convulsions where a limb will first flex and then extend an alternation of flexion and extension. In a child you will see the leg all at once shoot out with great violence, then up against the abdomen again with great violence, and then again shoot out. It is hard work to find another remedy that has that. Tabacum has it, but not many others. Convulsions with flexion and extension are common to Cuprum. Convulsions of the limbs, twitching and jerking of the muscles. We get a part of the symptom-picture in one and part in another.
Violent congestion in the head, violent pains in the head. Tingling pain in the vertex, severe pain in the vertex, bruised pain. Crawling sensation in vertex, stitches in the temples. Congestion of the brain. Meningitis. Headache after epileptic attacks. Paralysis of the brain with symptoms of collapse. Metastasis to the brain from other organs.
About the face; convulsions, jerking of the eyes; twitching of the lids. Bruised pain in the eyes. Spasms of the muscles of the eye so that the eyes jerk and twitch, first from one side and then the other. Rolling of the eyes. “Quick rotation of the balls with the lids closed. Lids spasmodically closed.” Closed so that they seem to snap. “Inflammation of the periosteum about the eyes and cellular tissue of the lachrymal glands.” Spots of ulceration on the cornea. Face and lips blue. The face is purple in convulsions and whooping cough; lips blue.
Inflammation of the tongue. Paralysis of the tongue. It is not an uncommon thing to find paralysis in Cuprum after convulsions. The violence of the convulsions seems to have brought about a reaction and paralytic weakness, a numbness and tingling, a loss of motility. “Spasms of the throat, preventing speech. Sensation as if constricted on swallowing. Great thirst for cold drinks.” Many complaints are ameliorated by drinking cold water. The spasms are sometimes mitigated by drinking cold water. The cough is brought on sometimes by inhaling cold air, but stopped by drinking cold water, like Coccus cacti. “Desire for warm food and drinks. Eats hastily.” Indigestion from milk.
Then there is nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea connected more or less with spasms. Spasms of the stomach. Spasms of the chest with diarrhoea and vomiting. Cramps of the calves and the fingers and toes. “Pressure in the stomach.” In the stomach and bowels periodical cramps. Cramps coming periodically. It has cured colic in the form of violent cramps coming every two weeks with perfect regularity. It has pain in the stomach, and a pain under the xiphoid appendix that seems as if it would take his life. If it is not removed he will certainly die in a little while. Constriction across the chest, suffocation, cramps of the legs. Cuprum goes deep into the life, and it has many a time taken such a grand hold of an old hysterical subject that it has completely eradicated in a short time the hysterical tendency to cramp. In Cuprum particularly, early in the cramps the thumbs commence to draw down. It is with difficulty that they can be lifted up. They will draw back again, and then the fingers will clinch over them and draw so tightly it is painful. In children with such convulsions, and in hysterics with such convulsions, Cuprum goes deep into the life and eradicates this tendency to convulsions and cramps. Uraemic convulsions. Convulsions with suppressed or scanty urine. No urine in the bladder. In young girls beginning to menstruate, violent cramps in the limbs, cramps in the abdomen, diarrhoea, cramps in the uterus. Epileptic spasms coming at every menstrual period. Before or during menses, or after suppression, violent, unbearable cramps in the abdomen. A case something like this is not so very uncommon. Girls, at about the time of puberty, go in bathing, when their mothers have been a little too prudish, a little too sensitive, and have not told their daughters what they might expect, and to look out for bathing in cold water at certain times. The menstrual flow starts. From a cold bath she suppresses that flow and on come convulsions. That is in keeping with Cuprum. Hysterical convulsions they may be called. They will take the form, quite likely, of hysterical convulsions; they may take the form of chorea. Instead of convulsions it may take the form of congestion of the brain with violent delirium. Again, the menses not appearing after suppression, after sweat, and convulsions come on; frequent spasms during menses. Cuprum is not generally known to be such a wonderful medicine where there is anaemia; but it has chlorosis. It is a deep acting medicine. It affects with great power the whole voluntary system, the desires and aversions. It is suitable in those girls who have always had their own way, have never been crossed, and when they grow older, and reach puberty, and have got to submit to some sort of discipline or never become women, they have mad fits, have cramps. Cuprum will sometimes make them sensible, so in that way it fits into the loves and hates. It belongs to the voluntary system most prominently. Spasmodic respiration ; great dyspnoea, asthmatic breathing. Attacks of spasmodic asthma and most violent spasmodic coughs. “Dry, hard, difficult cough, rattling in the chest, spasms. Dry spasmodic cough until he suffocates. Face is red or purple.”
Written by James Tyler Kent (1849–1916) and published first in his book "Materia Medica" (1905) James Tyler Kent was an American physician best remembered as a forefather of modern homeopathy.